I’m going to try something new and rather distressing. For a long time, I knew that when it was time to start pulling away from the book blog so that I could spend my time doing other things, like working on my own fiction, that I’d have to change the way I did reviews. Quite honestly, I dread sitting down and putting my thoughts on paper, even when I enjoy a particular title, even though I’m always taking notes. Flash reviews are something I’ve been considering for quite a while, and the idea behind them is simple: instead of a deep, in-depth review, I’ll do a quickie: you’ll just get what you’ve always gotten, if all you’ve ever read of my reviews, ever, was the “My Review” section. No spoilers, and if you want premises, all you have to do is click the title of the book to check it out.
I’m going to try this, because I think I’ve got more mental capacity to do reviews THIS way than the old way. For those of you who came to my blog wanting the old way, my apologies. I may get fed up with this and decide to go back to the old way later on, but given my transitionary issues, that’s doubtful. For those of you happy to get any reviews/discussion you can get, let’s see how this works, shall we?
My Review: 8 – Excellent
What an utterly fascinating yet deceptive book. I love the cover to pieces, but the cover led me to assume I’d be getting a standard kick-assitude urban fantasy. That was still my assumption after reading the premise, but now that I’ve sunk my teeth into this book? Oh, it’s so not THAT. It’s urban fantasy only in that it’s a fantasy story in an urban setting. Imagine N.K. Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms mixed with her The Killing Moon, and then imagine she’s writing urban fantasy instead of epic fantasy. Scratch any romance, add a lot of magical lawyering and a dash of steampunk, and you’ve got something utterly unique and fascinating. Definitely worth considering for the Hugo, and you can bet your butt I’ll be keeping an eye on Gladstone’s sequel, Two Serpents Rise. This was just so imaginative and compelling, and given that I have a friend who is a lawyer, there were many moments that had me cackling in understanding. The book wraps up wonderfully neatly too with a very solid yet disturbingly satisfying end.
My Review: 9 – Couldn’t Put It Down
So I was halfway through the Gladstone when my Kindle died and I had no immediate means of recharging. The next book in the pile was Valente’s fairy-tale re-telling of Snow White, so I decided I’d read it until my Kindle was charged and then go back to the Gladstone. Except, of course I couldn’t stop reading this once I started: I don’t know what the appeal is with Snow White as a fairy tale heroine: she features in Bill Willingham’s Fables, is the main princess in Once Upon a Time, and there were not just one, but TWO films re-telling that tale last year: Snow White and the Hunstman and Mirror, Mirror. You’d think there’d be nothing new anyone could do with poor Snow, but you’d be wrong. Valente adaptation of the fairy tale to a western is utterly fantastic and strangely and wonderfully fitting and imaginative. Valente even adapts her normally luscious writing style to a very fitting Wild West-esque voice, something I really appreciated, because it better suited the tale she was telling. If I have any quibbles, it’s the very end. I just don’t know what to make of it, or how I should let it shape the way I view the novella. No matter: it’s something I’ll be happy to re-read, and something I’ll be happy to nominate for a Hugo (next year).
Star Wars: Scoundrels (2013)
Written by: Timothy Zahn
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 443 (Hardcover)
My Review: 6 – Worth Reading, with Reservations
Here’s the thing: I love Star Wars. I am not, however, a fan of heist stories (think Ocean’s Eleven, etc). This book is Star Wars meets Ocean’s Eleven, featuring Han, Lando, Chewie, and a few other surprising and familiar faces along the way. On one hand, if you’ve not read any of the Expanded Universe novels, and you’re a fan of both things mentioned above, you should have fun with this tale. If you’re a fan of the EU novels, there’s something weird about this one… it doesn’t really feel like a Star Wars story, despite being written by the great and wonderful Timothy Zahn. There were also a few cameos and background that made me raise my eyebrows, because I was trying desperately to remember things I’d read years and years and years ago. So yeah, this is probably awesome for an EU newbie. It’s plain fun for the regular EU reader, but I can’t shake the feeling of weird it gave me. Not a bad weird, mind you, as it was fun to see what Han was up to between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Still, I’m looking more forward to James S.A. Corey’s take on the character, which will hopefully be published late this year.
Whew! That didn’t take long at all! What a tempting new format….